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Succeeding beyond the scale

Weight loss surgery helps Hailey Allen thrive

When describing Hailey Allen, the words funny, uplifting, and unique come to mind.

“I’ve been big since I was a child; I was overlooked, bullied and shamed almost every day because of my size, and I got to the point where I couldn’t seem to find the beauty in myself,” Allen recalls as she shares her story of weight loss in late November 2023.

Since her gastric sleeve surgery in July, she’s lost 71 pounds. This is the first time since high school that she’s weighed less than 300 pounds.

“I’m ready to not be the big kid for once,” Allen says, “(but) to be the skinny queen to go with my personality!”

HER ‘WHY’

“There are a lot of simple ‘whys,’” she explains, “like wanting to live a healthier life, being able to enjoy experiences with friends and family without my back or legs always hurting and the ability to look in the mirror and just be happy with the young woman I’m looking back at. I already admire who I am as a person and my unbeatable personality.”

Allen also is excited to try things she couldn’t before due to her weight.

“I want to walk around without having to complain every two seconds, maybe be a hiker for once in my life, ride rides at Disney, go to a trampoline park,” she says. “Because of my size, I couldn’t do some of the things that would help me lose weight, like trying out a Bungie exercise class.”

BEFORE

 

AFTER

LIVING A LONGER LIFE

Another challenge Allen faces simultaneously is the Chiari malformation diagnosis she received at the end of 2022, in which a part of her brain at the back of the skull bulges through a normal opening in the skull where it joins the spinal canal.

“Losing weight gives me the chance to take the pressure off the back of my brain and opens up the opportunity for me to have brain decompression surgery if it gets to that point where I need it,” she says.

Allen is encouraged about how her quality of life has continued to improve since the surgery.

“Before surgery, my body always had aches and pains, and I never had any energy to get me fully through the day,” she says. “I was missing out on family events and time with friends due to extreme migraines and tiredness.”

FINDING SUPPORT

“Weight loss surgery is a tool for people to help aid in weight loss and is not an easy way out of hard work,” Allen says. “You have to focus on yourself mentally and put yourself first.”

Regarding where she received support, she adds, “I would love to give a shoutout to my nurse, Caroline, who helped me so much with the preoperative steps. Clinical Psychologist Dr. Dickson- Rishel has helped me mentally and physically through this entire journey, and I’m not sure how far I would have gotten without her.” She also recommends weight-loss support groups to help with accountability and understanding of the process.

If you’re interested in learning more about weight loss services, visit wearememorial.com/weightloss.

Written by Memorial Health System

Memorial offers both primary care services and virtual visits. Learn more by visiting wearememorial.com or by calling (228) 867-5000.

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